This entry was posted by Sunday, 8 September, 2013
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Won't feel a thing


 Maybe it’s just the idea of it. A stranger  sticks something sharp in  your arm. Or your butt.

If you cry, you’re a sissy.

Well THANK you, Dr. Lissett Bickfort. And thank you, Katherine Moga (graduate student) for helping to perfect the successor to the “nasty needle”.

Here’s what’s going on.

Researchers have been looking for an alternative to the hypodermic needle for years.  They (the needles) hurt. And how many times have you been sitting in the waiting room and heard the awful  sound of a wailing child who feels his.her trust has been betrayed by the nice lady in the white coat.

She said it would just be a little pinch.

Needles are a constant risk to the care giver. A  dreaded “needle stick”  can have terrible consequences.  Plus they aren’t cheap, and they’re hard to dispose of.

But what’s the alternative?


Researchers have been working to perfect microneedle patches. It’s a great idea – a small  patch. The patch contains a dose of medicine. When it’s applied to the skin, the medicine is delivered via an array of very tiny  needles which penetrate  just deep  enough to deliver the dose.

It’s painless. And, because the stuff winds up (very reliably) at the optimal depth, injections  last longer.

That’s hard to argue with.

But to replace something as basic as the hypodermic needle, it has to  be just as good. And, one thing the hypodermic needle is, is tried and true. The patch, on the other hand, while a neat idea, didn’t always work well. So Bickford/Moga thought the trick might be to alter its stiffness – to make it  more flexible. Their thinking was that they needed to get all the  nano-needles into contact with the skin. By doing this, they made the patch’s drug delivery very efficient.  Their new material was also water-soluble which means there’s less to dispose of.

ScienceAintSoBad Rating10 on this one. This is a great idea. I didn’t mention it above, but the new product also lends itself to economical production. If this doesn’t wind up in your doctor’s hands soon, I’ll eat my patch.

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The drawing is mine.


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